4-2: Readings in Context

In his book Goffman states that people can view life “as if it were theater?” From this expression, he means that life is like a theoretical performance where people are constantly engaging in an impression management process whereby, they try to behave and present themselves in a way that will prevent embarrassments before others. According to Goffman (1978) life is like a theatre with a front stage on which actors perform before their audience. The actors are aware of their audience and the expectations needed to influence them. There is also the back region of the stage where actors relax. Through performance, individuals can give their audience meaning about themselves. The appearance of the actors portrays their social status in life including their temporary social roles and status. I believe that this does not suggest that people are not authentic or insincere. Goffman (1978), articulates that misrepresentations can take two forms. On one side a genuine performer should be able to take care in portraying his performance in a way that signifies his performance intact and the validity of his identity. On the other side, an insincere performer can take significant care in portraying his performance in a way that fools the audience to believe that he is authentic. However, both performers have the motive and capacity to misrepresent their performance and themselves but they are held back by guilt and shame of being caught.

Reading 17

Gender is a type of social institution that is made of expectations patters for members of the society grounded on whether they are female or male. As Lober (1994) articulates gender influences society members and the way they interact with each other, it is traceable and can be examined and researched. Gender has a significant impact on its organizations and social processes and it has a set of expectations for people to follow. Gender as a social institution is grounded on ideas that shape the way people think. It also consists of expectations that dictate the way people live. Society has gender roles that define the way people should behave, the types of jobs they should have, and how they should act and dress. As a social institution, gender defines masculinity and femininity and shows the differences between men and women. For instance, as a man I am “doing gender” by wearing trousers, watching sports, working in more strenuous jobs like construction, making money, and taking care of my family. I am also strong and courageous to protect my family and friends.

Reading 19 

Female cheerleaders have managed to evade the suspicions of the portrayal of being lesbians since cheerleading is firmly entrenched in the discourse of feminine actions. Cheerleaders do not have to worry about being stigmatized as lesbians or being considered masculine since cheerleading is considered feminine (Adams & Bettis, 2003). The activity has been created to value feminine virtues such as selflessness, nurturance, loyalty, and subservience. Nonetheless, the gender ideals are grounded in what normative femininity is in contemporary society. Cheerleading is constructed on the idea of what an ideal girl should look like reducing the chances of cheerleaders being portrayed as lesbians.

Reading 21 

I concur with the assumptions made by Howlett et al. (2015) that provocative dressing can promote negative evaluation of work competence and perpetuate stereotypes as judged by other women. According to research appearance affects perceptions in both children and adults and attractiveness transcends cultural boundaries. Employed women are expected to manage their appearance and dressing in a gendered and sexualized manner. This is because their appearance at work impacts other people’s impressions of them. Provocative dressing can lead to negative ratings of female employees especially those in high ranks (Howlett et al., 2015). women in high ranks are expected to dress appropriately and moderate their extent of displaying their femininity. If they fail to do so, the outcomes of violating the work ethics code may harm their career. The provocative dressing also stereotypes female objectification. They lead to women being harshly judged and it evokes judgments that are sexualized by both men and women. Women will possibly be judged as less intelligent, more sexually experienced, and less capable if they wear provocative outfits. If a U.S study was completed, similar results will be obtained because there are many stereotypes based on how women dress especially at work. According to research sexualized judgments grounded on provocative dressing at work negatively impacts the perception of attributes related to the competence of women especially those in higher positions (Howlett et al., 2015). Women are judged harshly by the way they dress and their appearance at work.












Adams, N., & Bettis, P. (2003). Commanding the room in short skirts: Cheering as the embodiment of ideal girlhood. Gender & Society17(1), 73-91. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243202238979

Goffman, E. (1978). The presentation of self in everyday life (Vol. 21). London: Harmondsworth.

Howlett, N., Pine, K. J., Cahill, N., Orakçıoğlu, İ., & Fletcher, B. C. (2015). Unbuttoned: The interaction between provocativeness of female work attire and occupational status. Sex Roles72(3), 105-116. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-015-0450-8

Lorber, J. (1994). Night to his day”: The social construction of gender. Race, class, and gender in the United States: An integrated study. In Paradoxes of gender (First Edition).  London: Yale University Press.


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